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CEO Update - March 2022

Welcome to our CEO Update for the month of March, which recaps a strong start to the 2022 NRL season and an AGM which was well received by those in attendance as we provided financials and details stemming from football and licensed club business throughout 2021.

At the AGM we also outlined the direction in which Board and Management are taking the club this year and into the future.

On the football front, we are certainly positive about our prospects following successive wins and look forward to returning to PointsBet tomorrow to tackle the Knights. We concede there were some issues with a capacity crowd at the Eels game but have attempted to address the areas of concern as best we can as we aim to provide an improved member experience for the game tomorrow night.

In this CEO Update, we also farewell Elie Bassil our Sharks at Kareela General Manager who has left us to pursue another opportunity, while welcoming Justin Coulton to the role. Justin has been driving our football and Kareela marketing over the past 12 months however he has a long history with clubs and in the hospitality industry and we have every confidence he will help deliver the exceptional customer service we became used to under Elie’s leadership.

Excitement around the team is high, Sharks at Kareela is going strong despite golf being hampered by the weather, and as always we thank you for your interest and for your support of the Sharks in 2022.

Sharks at Kareela

In covering off on business relating to Sharks at Kareela, we should begin with a thank you to General Manager Elie Bassil who leaves us after four and a half years of outstanding service. Those to visit Sharks at Kareela will agree the Club has reached new levels of service under his leadership, with Elie instrumental in driving the amalgamation with Kareela and enhancing the overall member experience at our second home in the Shire.

Also heavily involved in the design of the new Leagues Club in Woolooware, which will be a state-of-the-art facility once complete, on behalf of everyone involved with the Club we thank Elie and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Those who were at the Sharks first home game against the Eels will agree the atmosphere at the ground was exceptional. The same can be said at Sharks at Kareela, with the Sharks proving extremely popular in the Club on game days. We have two home games in succession however when the team goes on the road again in the weeks ahead, try Sharks at Kareela as an outstanding option to watch the team in the company of your fellow Sharks members and fans.

Also at Sharks at Kareela, the Mega Easter Raffles are back, starting next Wednesday, April 6. The first week we will be giving away $2,500 in Easter Egg hampers, then on Wednesday, April 13, you can win a share of $2,500 in Seafood, just in time for Easter. There will be 40 winners each night so make sure you are at the Club from 6pm to purchase your tickets.

Later in April, to commemorate the past and present servicemen and women who bravely served and sacrificed to protect our freedoms, Sharks at Kareela will host ANZAC Day 2-Up between 12 and 4pm. Come and enjoy a beverage, a meal and ANZAC Day in a safe and secure environment.

And with the rain continuing to fall, we can report the green staff at Kareela are doing all they can to make the course playable again. It has been closed, or only partly open, for the past few weeks and we can only hope to see the course dry out and to have our golfers back in the Club enjoying a drink after their round once again.

Woolooware Bay
As everyone along the eastern seaboard will appreciate, as a result of the consistent rainfall the months of February and March have thrown up a number of challenges relating to the Woolooware Bay precinct and Sharks Leagues Club construction, however Parkview and our development partners Aoyuan continue to push on.  

The overall structure continues to progress, with the site now reaching level four concrete slab, shopfront and window install is about to commence on the lower levels and the walls of the retail are beginning to take shape with the installation of blockwork.

Ahead of our first home match the southeastern turnstiles at PointsBet Stadium were completed, with the Captain Cook Drive intersection traffic lights to the east of the stadium also activated in making for safer access into the ground on game day.

As we know, Stage Four of Woolooware Bay, which includes our new Sharks Leagues Club, is a massive project, best outlined by the detail below provided by our development partners.

The physical act of pouring a concrete slab takes an entire working day, which doesn’t include the 14-day cycle of preparation required to install formwork, reinforcement and services prior to pouring.

Each level of a building incorporates eight concrete pours, up to level six, then each of the five towers above level six are split into two pours each. Overall, there are 118 individual concrete pours on the project and as of early March, approximately 16,900 cubic meters of concrete has been poured on site, enough concrete to fill seven Olympic swimming pools.

There is approximately 50,000 cubic meters of concrete left to pour.

As touched on, it is a huge construction project. We look forward to seeing the finished product in mid-2023.

See once again the latest drone photos and stay tuned for further updates.

Commercial
As communicated previously, we are proud of the major corporate partners we have been able to attract for the 2022 season, with many going over and above in their commitment to supporting our club.

In addition to their financial contributions, our Major Partners are all about giving back to our Members and fans via various game day activations, which began at our round two game against the Eels and will continue throughout the season.

At each home game the Aramex Special Delivery sees a lucky Member presented with exciting prizes and money can’t buy experiences. Examples include tossing the coin for the team captains, being part of a guard of honour as the players run onto the field, to signed player jerseys or boots, or the latest merchandise item, just to name a few of the prizes on offer.

Aramex also provide free giveaways at their Activation Zone near the eastern entrance to the stadium, with photo booths and other activities. We thank Aramex for continuing to deliver to our Members and Fans!

Similarly, Zambrero have a presence at our PointsBet Stadium games, and tomorrow night a lucky Member will win a year’s supply of Burrito’s. At half time two participants will play a game of Giant Connect Four for their opportunity to claim the prize, with free Zambrero burrito vouchers to also be handed out at games during the season. 

At the round two game you may have noticed the Southern Comfort Upgrade Box, situated under the Peter Burns Stand. Select members will be drawn out each week to watch the Sharks in comfort from the Southern Comfort Box, with food and beverages provided. Members also be sure to check out the Southern Comfort Members Bar, situated under the ET Stand. A refurbishment has taken place thanks to Southern Comfort, with the bar, which will be Members only from the Knights game onwards, providing a comfortable place to catch up with mates before the game.

While not forgetting Ace Gutters, who will be handing out mini-Sharks, a kids favourite, at our Sunday afternoon games, beginning in round five when we host the Tigers. So as not to miss out, be sure to arrive early.

And there will be many other partner activations during the season, so keep an eye on Sharks socials and media channels for updates.

Finally, all available corporate hospitality for the season has sold out, however John Day is accepting expressions of interest should there be cancellations throughout the year. Email [email protected].

Community
Sharks Have Heart and our community programs continued to ramp up in conjunction with the kick-off to the NRL season, however two especially important events took place during March with the Johnny Mannah Walk for Lymphoma and the launch of our third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

On the Johnny Mannah Walk, held in partnership with the Eels and Lymphoma Australia, I was joined by a group of around 30 club officials, former players, nurses and doctors, as we made the trek from CommBank Stadium in Parramatta to PointsBet, 35kms in all, in raising $54,000 for what is an extremely worthy cause.

I was very pleased and proud to present a cheque to Lymphoma Australia at half time of our round two game against the Eels, with the funds to go towards a dedicated Lymphoma nurse. We also managed to beat the Eels and claim the Johnny Mannah Cup on the night, which capped off a very enjoyable evening.

Also in March the Sharks launched a second ‘Innovate’ RAP, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and reflecting the Club’s commitment to develop and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Sutherland Shire and beyond.

The Sharks third endorsed RAP followed on from the first ‘Reflect’ RAP, launched in 2017, which allowed the Club to scope its capacity for Reconciliation, ahead of our first ‘Innovate’ RAP in 2019.

Rachal Allan, the Sharks Indigenous Programs Coordinator and Chair of our RAP Committee, helped compile and submit the RAP for approval and does an outstanding job engaging with our local indigenous community.

To find out more and or to watch the video highlights from the Mannah Walk - CLICK HERE, while to read about our latest RAP – CLICK HERE.

And in strengthening our community team, Jess McCartney has started as our new Head of Community & Government relations. Jess will be working closely alongside George Nour to review and take the Sharks community programs to new heights.

Jess has previously worked at the NRL, Men of League, Headspace and Sport Australia.

Through Sharks Have Heart we continue to engage with and make a different in the community through our programs, events and initiatives.

Membership
It was fantastic to see our members back at PointsBet as a part of the sell-out crowd two weeks ago  and we hope to see you all back filling the stands and the family hill tomorrow night for the big game against the Knights.

As mentioned a couple of times in this CEO Update, we have addressed the issues we encountered in our return match and hope to deliver a much-improved member experience both this week and during the remainder of the 2022 season.

We thank those members to have signed on for this year, with our numbers approaching 13,000, which represents an outstanding result considering our reduced capacity at PointsBet this year. And it’s not too late to show your support, with Flexi and GA memberships still available.

Further to our 2022 memberships, tickets to our Coffs Harbour game in June will go on sale towards the end of April. A sell out in 2021, members will have priority in purchasing tickets, so if not already a member guarantee your entry by joining as a Coffs Coast member now.

Members will be notified via email and through Sharks media channels of the members presale ticketing window for the game in Coffs Harbour.

Merchandise
After a strong response to the popular Heritage jersey design, with men’s sizes selling out fast following both the first and second release, we are exploring the options for a third order, with those to have missed out and still interested in purchasing encouraged to stay turned for updates.

In addition to the Heritage jersey, soon to be launched will two more striking jerseys, including unique Anzac and Indigenous designs. We play the Sea Eagles in round seven in the Anzac jersey, the Roosters in the Indigenous jersey in round 12. Look out for those jerseys when released in the coming weeks.

Overall, merchandise sales have been extremely strong, leading to some shortages in our most popular items including jerseys, polos and training gear. More stock will be available in late April and we appreciate your patience as we wait for preordered items to arrive.

Also launching in the coming months will be a new, easy to navigate online store, while Afterpay is now available instore for all purchases.

Visit our Sharks Store at Sharks at Kareela, with opening hours Monday to Saturday, 10am-2pm, for all your merchandise needs, or go to the Sharks Store online to view our complete range or to make an order – CLICK HERE

Football
Following the disappointment of a narrow round one loss in Canberra, where our Coach Craig Fitzgibbon was forced to carry out his duties remotely while in Covid quarantine, we have enjoyed two strong results with wins over the Eels and Dragons.

The Eels victory was an exciting one, Nicho Hynes kicking the match winning goal after the full-time siren in what was our first game back at PointsBet since 2019, then the boys were dominant in beating our local rivals the Dragons last Thursday night.

Both wins came with some silverware attached, as we claimed the Johnny Mannah Cup for our win over the Eels and the Monty Porter Memorial Trophy for the victory against the Dragons.

Tomorrow night we host the Knights in our second game at PointsBet and we hope to see a bumper crowd in attendance as we look to emulate the incredible atmosphere experienced by all in the stadium when we played the Eels.                          

The Knights match will also be a special one with Aiden Tolman celebrating his 300th NRL game. He has a large contingent of family and friends attending the game, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo will make a special presentation post game, and I have no doubt the team will look to recognise the occasion with a big win.

In relation to our other teams, the Newtown Jets have begun with three straight wins, our Jersey Flegg boys have a win, a loss and a draw to show for their efforts so far, while our Mathews Cup, SG Ball and Tarsha Gale teams are all well in the hunt for a Finals berth with two rounds of their competitions remaining.

And the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership is only a few weeks away, with players to begin filtering back after completing NRLW commitments with the various teams. The Sharks girls enjoyed a solid trial hit out last weekend, played without any of their NRLW players, and with an extremely strong and talented squad the sky is the limit in 2022.

Good luck to all teams representing the Sharks this weekend and in the weeks to come, especially to our NRL boys in their big game against the Knights on Friday night.

AGM - Life Membership

At last night’s AGM former player, administrator and club favorite Barry Russell was voted in as a Life Member of both the Leagues and Football Clubs. Nominated by Peter Gow, seconded by Chris Weeks, Barry’s nomination was overwhelmingly endorsed by the members after being deemed a worthy recipient of the honour.

Chairman Steve Mace presented Barry with a life membership memento upon his nomination being ratified and on behalf of the entire club we offer our congratulations. It is a fitting and well-deserved reward for Barry’s outstanding service, as a player, an administrator and as a strong advocate for our Club over many years.

In closing
Thanks to those who attended the Annual General Meetings of both the Leagues and Football Clubs on Wednesday night. There was a positive vibe in the room and the Board was appreciative of the support received and the endorsement of the members in attendance to continue the work they are doing.

Also, to those who attended our first home game in round two, we have listened to your feedback and have done our best to address the areas of concern in an effort to improve the customer experience for tomorrow night. We are confident you will notice a difference.

Thanks again for your support and we look forward to seeing you at PointsBet Stadium when we strive for a third straight win tomorrow night.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.